Dr. Megan Levings’ T Regulatory Cell Therapy to Transform Human Health

Dr. Levings, Professor at UBC Department of Surgery and School of Biomedical Engineering, and her team are working on cell-based therapies aiming to provide a more advanced targeted cure for diseases such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis as well as transplant rejection. The core principle behind cell-based therapies is to harness the natural ability of the immune cells to regulate immune system activity. This is fundamentally different from traditional therapies like chemical drugs, which have an indiscriminate effect on all or most bodily cells leading to less specific treatment outcomes.

Dr. Levings’ considers herself fortunate to have access to other world-leading experts in immunology, surgery and bioengineering housed at UBC. She attributes the success of her lab’s work to the multidisciplinary approach embraced at UBC.

“UBC is an amazing place for collaboration. My work in this area would not have been possible without the interdisciplinary approaches required to study T regulatory cells in a variety of research and clinical contexts.”

Dr. Megan Levings

Taking a new biotechnology from “bench to bed” is a long pathway. Dr. Levings believes that the collaborative environment nurtured at UBC has the potential to accelerate the process of implementing new therapies. The tireless work of the Levings lab is driven by the prospect of delivering life-saving therapies to patients more swiftly, which would be transformational for healthcare at large. Dr. Levings’ T regulatory cell treatment study entered the clinical trials stage in 2022. In parallel with conducting this project, Dr. Levings is leading an initiative to build a cell-therapeutics manufacturing facility at UBC.

“Cell therapy is transforming medicine. It is a privilege to lead the project aiming to bring new cell manufacturing capacity to UBC. This facility would support the work of many investigators across the province and country.”

– Dr. Megan Levings